Arsenal are set to continue with the same tactics that saw them end their winless away run in the Premier League against Middlesbrough when they take on Manchester City in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. Arsene Wenger deployed a three-man central defence for the first time since 1997 at the Riverside Stadium, resulting in a 2-1 win for the Gunners.
Goals from Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil delivered the victory, which keeps the north Londoners' faint Champions League qualification hopes alive heading into the concluding weeks of the campaign. Wenger had suggested following the win on Teeside that the change in formation was an attempt to improve his team's confidence and would not be used in the long term.
But the Arsenal boss has U-turned on those claims, indicating that he could use the 3-4-3 formation when the club attempt to reach a record 20th final in the world's oldest cup competition against Pep Guardiola's City. "It's an option, yes. But what will I do? You will understand I won't tell you now," he admitted to reporters.
"The game will be spectacular. We hope we score the first goal. [The system] was testing to give us more defensive stability because lately we concede too many goals. The definition of a good football player is that he is adaptable to the situation. That's what makes football rich. If you're not adaptable, you're not a top-level player."
Wenger will be without six first-team Arsenal players for the clash against City during to injury including Jack Wilshere, whose loan spell at Bournemouth has been cut short due to a broken leg suffered against Tottenham Hotspur. Danny Welbeck, Shkodran Mustafi, David Ospina, Lucas Perez and Santi Cazorla are all missing, but the major concern is over Wilshere, who will not play again this season and has to see a specialist to tackle the broken fibula.
"I follow the situation closely because he sees a specialist," the Arsenal boss added. "We think it's a simple fracture that doesn't need surgery. Hopefully he will be back in July for normal training. I think it's a very simple fracture of the fibula, and we need patience. Let's hope that all goes well.
"Until the end of the season he is a player at Bournemouth but we have a good understanding of the medical staff. Because it's a fracture there is not a lot to do. The rehab will be made here because the season will be over. His loan spell ends then, during the break all the rehab will be made here.
"[It's] sad because Jack is a great player, his career has been stopped by many injuries and you know today at the top level the most important thing is the consistency of the presence. The game is at such an intensity that it takes a while to get the confidence back."